A few weeks ago I sat down with my former business partner, Nina Peterson, to discuss what it means for her to lead wellbeing. Our conversation made me smile. Not only was it great to hear her voice, she shared how she’s striving to demonstrate and promote wellbeing through her role as Director of People & Culture at Door-to-Door Organics, a Colorado-based company that brings organic produce and select groceries to consumers’ doorsteps across the country.
Her journey has been amazing. After years as a hard-core advocate for all things “wellness” and “green”, Nina spoke about a new question that is shaping her ethos about life and leadership: Are we moving in the direction of health?
Some might say this question is a cop-out, a way to hedge on a making a full-blown commitment to advancing wellbeing. But after many years of working together, I know Nina; copping out isn’t part of her DNA. I believe inherent within her question is a profound wisdom about how people – individually and collectively – make a change.
Whether exercising or eating with health in mind or building a less reactive leadership team and more engaged employees, rarely do we create a new habit like an on/off switch; instead, we move toward our wellness aspirations over time. The act of our gradual “moving toward” is exactly what we humans need to integrate new behaviors, perspectives, skills, and relationships into a better way of living and working.
Nina recently witnessed this dynamic in force when she sat with an employee and his girlfriend at a party at work. The girlfriend revealed, “When Matt first started working at Door-To-Door, he never even ate vegetables! He didn’t know what to do with them! But little by little, he’s eating them more just by working there.” You could criticize Matt for his veggie-scarce diet. But instead of measuring him against the isn’t-it-obvious-that-5-veggies-a-day-are-good-for-you standards, Nina recognized a deeper, more wellness-inspiring truth: Matt is moving in the direction of health. And for him and his company, that kind of movement is good.
Perhaps even more powerful than the question “Are we moving in the direction of health?” is the spirit behind it: the attitude of listening for headway rather than judging against measures of wellbeing that often seem too far afield for the individual or organization pursuing them. For my own life and leadership role, I re-crafted Nina’s question as my guide and now ask myself, “Is this behavior moving me and my company in the direction of health?” If the answer is no, then what can I shift to move toward wellbeing instead of away from it? And if the answer is “yes,” then onward! Baby step by baby step, all our efforts help contribute to the wellbeing revolution.
How are you moving toward health in your own life and workplace? I’d really like to know.
– Other Great Questions for Turning Your Insights into Valuable Action
– Making Peace a Habit in Life and Work
– The Secret Leadership Fuel of Another Wellbeing Leader, UBS Senior Vice President Scott Pann